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Portuguese-American Genealogy

A guide on some resources for those interested in Portuguese-American genealogy.

Quick notes

As you search for your Portuguese relatives, please keep in mind: 

  1. Only pre-1911 birth/marriage/death records are available for public consultation (via websites or existing microfilm); post-1911 records must be obtained directly from the appropriate civil registry office; 
  2. All records, regardless of format, are in Portuguese with no immediate translation(s) available; 
  3. There are no official indexes for these records. Some indexes were created--by private individuals--for certain villages and certain time periods: consult these with caution as they may contain errors; 
  4. You cannot perform searches within the digitized records, therefore, in order to find the appropriate record, you need to know: 
    1. the Portuguese name of the individual you are researching; 
    2. the date of the event; 
    3. the village where the event took place; 
    4. the island or province where the village is located.


Portuguese Vital Record Information

The register of baptisms and marriages became compulsory in 1563, and death registrations in 1614. Portuguese churches kept records of baptisms (baptismos), marriages (casamentos), and deaths (obitos). Records from the 1800s are particularly complete and include many details. Record books with no entries more recent than 90 years ago will generally be in district archives. Church records were seized by the Portuguese government in 1910 and many church records today are included with civil ones at the district archives and the national archive (Torre do Tombo).

Please note that the records will be in Portuguese and as of the time this guide was created, translations were not available on any of the commonly used websites.

Accessing Azorean vital records

This is a quick guide to how to get to the Azorean vital records you may be interested in: 

Archives and Special Collection Librarian

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